The trouble with best friendship is that, at the beginning, you don’t absolutely have to agree on the conditions of the contract.
There are no terms.
There is no lease.
With a boyfriend or girlfriend you ask, “Do you want to?” and they either say, “Yes,” or, “No.” And then, with that acceptance, comes an accord. An alliance. An anniversary. Or, with that denial, a good mopy walk. But, unlike the defining moment of a proposed romance, with friendship you don’t usually ask for it.
You announce it.
“You’re my best friend.”
That declaration, though, doesn’t always invite a conversation about your feelings; how you came to that conclusion. Because the person you say it to doesn’t necessarily have to feel the exact same way for it to continue on being true for you. Which can be confusing. But the worst part, far and away, is that it doesn’t entitle you to a good breakup when it’s truly over.
And knowing when something is over is nice.
Because knowing anything is nice.
And not knowing blows whale dick.
To most people, it may have been shockingly obvious why things had started to feel differently between them. Why Copeland had been so distant.
School was over.
There was a girl.
But Dusty didn’t see those things. Partly because he was a few credits short and hadn’t actually graduated with them. And all of his most meaningful relationships with the opposite sex had been nonconventional; or just plain strange. And a lack of shared experiences divides people like a fart in an elevator. But mostly Dusty was just refusing to see it. Refusing to acknowledge the truth.
Copeland’s life was changing.
And their friendship was changing with it.
So Dusty’s life was changing, too.
For him, things had been happy for a while now, where they had been plainly miserable for the long while before, and he would have fought to the death to protect that.
But there was no fight here.
And certainly no fight he could win.
So he followed Copeland back up the cliff, back up the rope, and did his absolute best to ignore just how scared he was that it all might be over.